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Working in the clouds

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I clearly remember the floppy disks I used as a child to save schoolwork. The device created in 1967 by IBM revolutionized data storage. We had no idea, but it was the beginning of an era where data storage would go as far as “reaching the sky”. After the floppy disk, we used CD-Rs, DVDs, flash drives, and memory sticks until the emergence of Cloud storage opened the door to a new world.

In the last 20 years, thousands of startups have been able to put their bold ideas in motion through the Cloud. Apps like location, chat, food delivery, and even activities we never imagined to be digitized like dating, were not only born but operate today only because of the Cloud infrastructure.

Cloud computing is an IT infrastructure that stores data on remote servers accessed over the internet and is consumed in a pay-as-you-go model. Rather than investing in purchasing and maintaining physical data centers, racks of servers, storage, and multiple network appliances, companies access these technology services from a Cloud provider. This ensures business agility, reliability, higher scalability, and lower costs without compromising on security.

Mockup of a smart home operated by Cloud computing/ AWS Skills Center Seattle.
Tássia Almeida Mockup of a smart home operated by Cloud computing/ AWS Skills Center Seattle.

According to Grand View Research, the global Cloud Computing market was estimated at $368.97 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $483.98 billion this year. Furthermore, it is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 15.7% from 2022 to 2030, with revenue forecast in 2030 of $1,554.94 billion. The five leading companies in the Cloud computing market are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (with Q3 market shares of 33%, 20% and 10% respectively)  Alibaba Cloud, and IBM Cloud as reported by Synergy Research Group

Data from Grand View Research also shows that the North American Cloud computing market accounted for the largest revenue share of over 39% in 2021. The region is expected to maintain its position as it is home to several of these companies. There is a trend that all these new technologies being created will continue to be adopted by all sorts of industries — from Autonomous vehicles to Smart Cities and connected devices like your Smart TV or fridge. This software has been “eating the world” as the industry likes to say, with no signs of slowing down. 

In this context, the demand for Cloud infrastructure tends to increase and on-premises data centers are seen as an increasingly distant past, making working on Cloud as a very promising career path. Today, Linkedin has more than 400,000 jobs in Cloud computing in the United States only. Salaries can start at $85,161 a year in accordance with Zip Recruiter for an entry level Cloud Engineer in the US. Some jobs exceed $200,000 based on experience, field, and amount of certification. The sky’s the limit, pun intended.

Salary according to each job role. 
TechTarget Salary according to each job role. 

How to start a career in Cloud Computing? 

A bachelor’s degree in software engineering, data science, computer science, or a related discipline is important for a “career in the Clouds”. Courses that offer computer programming languages ​​used in Cloud-native development, such as Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, or .NET will be a highlight on your resume. If you want to pursue in the sales area, Management and Marketing courses are indicated, and some IT knowledge is required.

The second step could be taking Cloud training and the leading companies in the industry offer a lot of free training and resources. For example, AWS Educate provides its members with no-cost access to learning content and AWS services designed to build knowledge and skills in Cloud computing. They also have  the AWS Skills Center, a training center open to the public for anyone in the community who is curious about Cloud computing and future possibilities for working in the field, here in Seattle. The center is designed to help people with little or no technology experience.

AWS Skills Center Seattle (located at 1915 Terry Avenue) provides free in-person classes about computing and Cloud fundamentals. 
Tássia Almeida AWS Skills Center Seattle (located at 1915 Terry Avenue) provides free in-person classes about computing and Cloud fundamentals. 

Acquiring a certification related to the Cloud provider from one of the companies in this field would be a very good market differentiation as a beginner in this area. The certification is a proficiency test that will validate your knowledge in certain domains, such as development, solutions architecture, security, machine learning, among others.

Cloud computing is impacting domains like gaming, robotics, and machine learning/ AWS Skills Center Seattle. 
Tássia Almeida Cloud computing is impacting domains like gaming, robotics, and machine learning/ AWS Skills Center Seattle. 

As in other careers, practice is essential. An internship could be a good starting point for students. All cloud provider companies have recurring internship programs and so do their Technology and Consulting Partner companies like Salesforce, Snowflake, Accenture or Deloitte to name a few. Other ways to gain real-world experience could be participating in open group Meetups for Cloud, or joining Open Source Cloud-related projects if you like programming. You can also search for volunteer opportunities

With experience, it will be possible to build a portfolio. It is always interesting to get references from professors and professionals who have worked with you. Networking is also key. Exchange ideas with people in the area, participate in events like the annual conventions that these leading Cloud companies have. You don’t need to complete your bachelor’s degree to start this flight. The market is eager for talent and the sooner you start, the further ahead you’ll be in this future which is already here.

Staff Writer at Seattle Central College

Tássia is a Brazilian journalist who is learning and discovering English. She believes in the power of the mind and destiny. Sweets are her biggest addiction. Tássia is passionate about food, travel and writing about feelings and thoughts. Seniors have a big space in her heart and that's why she volunteers on a project focused on them. She loves changes and challenges, and that is what keeps her going.

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